News Analysis

Setting Agenda For The World Trade Organisation Director General, Dr Ngozi Okonjo Iweala

Last week, , the  66-year-old former Nigerian finance minister and world bank chief Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, emerged as the seventh  Director-General  of the Global Trade Organisation and  endorsed by United States President, Joe Biden.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala became the first woman and the first African to be chosen as Director-General of the World Trade Organisation. 

The WTO’S job is no new terrain for Dr Okonjo-Iweala going by her pedigree in economics and financial matters.

As a development economist and a former finance minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala steered Nigeria through various reforms ranging from macroeconomic to trade, financial and real sector issues.

No doubt, Dr Okonjo Iweala’s appointment, is an achievement, and an opportunity for the country and her home state, delta to contribute significantly to the pursuit of a better trade deal for the world.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala’s antecedents an technocratic background would help inject some confidence back into the world trade system.

In the light of this, the new will need to bring to bear her experience.

The world at the moment faces series of challenges, chief among these is the coronavirus pandemic.

It is imperative for her to hit the ground running as she takes on the job in the middle of a major global recession.

There is need to revive the ministerial conference on the organization decision.

This will give members equal opportunity to participate in the decision making process.

The WTO has made virtually no progress on major international trade agreements.

Thus, the NEW D.G has to reopen the trade talk to break the deadlock.

Fixing of the WTO dispute settlement system will go along way to strong organisation for optimal performance.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala should focus more on her vision of a rejuvenated and strengthened the organization that will be confident to tackle effectively ongoing issues, as she told WTO members during a hearing in July.

Aside the aforementioned WTO DG should remember to support female participation in global trade, and greater efforts should be made to include women-owned enterprises in the formal sector

Above all, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala should ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible as WTO’S main function. 

 Olukemi Akintunde

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